Playing the long game: Why Liz Hartman wants to stay on school board
Liz Hartman, who's served two terms on the Lake Oswego School Board, is running for reelection.
Why? She says there's some unfinished business she'd like to see through.
Hartman is running against Jini Stupak for Position 4.
Her roots in Lake Oswego run deep. She's a longtime resident and saw her daughter through all 13 years of her Lake Oswego education. She's volunteered in parent clubs at the elementary, middle and high school level. She has raised money through individual school auctions and as a member of the Lake Oswego Schools Foundation Board of Directors. On top of all that, she currently serves as the executive director of the Lake Oswego Chamber of Commerce.
Even though her daughter has graduated, Hartman still cares about the district and its students.
"One of the things people value most in Lake Oswego is our education system," Hartman said.
She said there's an advantage, as a board member, to having been a parent at every level in the district.
"If I were to leave the board at this point, there would only be one person, John Wallin, who had a kid go through K-12 in Lake Oswego," Hartman said.
In her time on the board, the district passed a bond and a local option levy, and LOSD is currently creating the strategic plan that will act as a framework for the next five years.
Hartman, a self-proclaimed lover of long-range planning, said she's not done yet.
"Turnover for superintendents is — the average length of a superintendent nationally and in state is about three years," Hartman said.
She thinks that is partly because of turnover on school boards.
"I would like to have the stability on the board to see this strategic plan through," she said.
The district's strategic plan is the framework through which all other decisions get made. It affects everything from hiring to budget allocation and curriculum adoption. With this plan, the district will be prioritizing creating a culture of belonging, achieving equitable academic outcomes, promoting health and resiliency, and teaching and practicing sustainability.
"I am all-in on the strategic plan," Hartman said. "Most importantly we have to keep maintaining the quality of our education that our community has come to expect."
Hartman said there's a lot she's proud of from the last several years on the board.
"I think passing the first bond in 20 years … that was monumental, and being able to put together a plan that looked at a bond structure over three phases was monumental," she said. "The district had to address the deferred maintenance."
And out of it, she said, came great schools.
"Lakeridge Middle has come out as a gem. Oak Creek has come out as a gem," Hartman said.
She said one reason she ran in 2013 was to find a new superintendent who would be a champion for all students.
"I have been very honored to be able to serve Lake Oswego and work with the district and work with the board I've worked with," Hartman said. "And truly we have a gem with (Superintendent) Lora de la Cruz . .. we've had such great changes and change is not easy, but the culture changes we've seen over the last eight years are headed in the right direction."
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